In 2002 I had a 15 day military deployment to Roseau, Dominica to work on several humanitarian projects, and trust me it was indeed work and no play. I worked like two Missouri mules in a Georgia turpentine camp for 12 days, with 3 days off for sightseeing and packing for my return back home. I will say that I was indeed humping to please, sweating like the next pig in line at a slaughterhouse. I did not have much of a chance to get out and about on my own and free style like I usually do. I have always wanted to go back and take my time and enjoy the Dominica that I saw in a flash, mostly through the windshield of the government vehicle that I was a passenger of. Maybe one day I will take a Caribbean cruise back to Dominica, or fly down to an all-inclusive resort for a 7 nights or 7 days get away. So what I am saying now, is from the little time I spent there in 2002. I found Dominica to be unique for many reasons. the locals would often stop me just to wish a good visit, or say hello. The locals were so friendly that it was almost fun to get lost just to have an excuse to approach people in their front yards, or on their front porches. Whether you’re looking for the best diving in the Caribbean, to bird or wild life watch, a hiking trip through the rain forest, or simply to soak up the sun and breathe in the fresh rainforest air, Dominica will welcome you! The Nature Island has everything from extreme sports to eco tours, from spas to whale watching – plus the Morne Trois Pitons National Park – the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Caribbean. No matter what you choose to do, Dominica offers an authentic adventure amid the unforgettable magic of nature unspoiled. But none more so than for its indigenous people. For Dominica can boast the only remaining tribe of Carib Indians in the Caribbean. To understand why this race has survived, when all other native Caribbean cultures were destroyed, let us take a look back into history of the first people there, The Caribs Indians. Dominica’s indigenous people -properly known as the Kalinago, were the original inhabitants of Dominica island and have a 3,700 acre Territory on Dominica’s East coast. There on the East Coast of Dominica, the native Dominicans live in peace and harmony. They are the most of their kind living together, the second inhabitants of the island after the Ciboneys. They are the Carib Indians, unfortunately, due to inaccurate accounts written about them, Caribs have been regarded for many years as “fierce and warlike.” However, any encounter with the Caribs, would quickly change one’s mind. “Gentle” seems to be their generic trait. They are uncomplicated people who rely on the earth and the sea for a living.There are only 3000 Caribs remaining after years of brutal treatment by the Spanish, French and English. They live in 8 villages on the East Coast of Dominica. Caribs have their own chief, Garnet Joseph, who was elected July 9th 200 they also have a representative in the house of assembly. They tend to keep to themselves and their culture has remained very much unchanged compared to other areas of the island. They reputedly use 300 different herbs for medicine some of the best bush doctors hail from the Territory. Dances, traditions, legends, and beliefs have been kept alive by the elders who pass on theses traditions through Story-Telling. The language is only spoken by a few people today but their dances are being performed by Karifauna, their dance group.The Carib Territory is well worth a visit. Beside the warm and friendly people, other attractions in the Carib Territory include its many craft shops, the L’Escalier Tete Chien, Horseback Ridge and Isulukati Falls, as well as the Karifuna Cultural Group. It is almost spiritual how one is flung Centuries back into a cool, calm place with the most beautiful group of people, amidst the straw huts and baskets made by the best artisans. You might never want to leave but you would have to unless you could prove that you have Carib Ancestry! For more about the Caribs of Dominica visit their site, Kalinagoterritory
Videos of Dominica, the Nature Island.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.
James A. Michener
Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.